Booster shots are the best medicine

Home > Opinion > Editorials

print dictionary print

Booster shots are the best medicine

 On Thursday, President Moon Jae-in apologized for the government’s failure to control a steep increase in the number of critically-ill Covid-19 patients and a lack of ICU beds. In an earlier meeting at the Central Disaster and Safety Countermeasures Headquarters, Prime Minister Kim Bu-kyum announced a plan to toughen social distancing rules, including stricter regulations on private gatherings and restaurant operating hours. With the decision, the first phase of a return to normal life has been suspended.

The draconian restrictions on social gatherings Moon had enforced since July lasted for four months. But the return to normal life ended after one and half months. Kim called it a “temporary suspension,” but citizens are wondering how long this will continue. We are utterly disappointed at the government’s repeated torture by hope.

Statistics show the vanity of the 16-day suspension of a return to normalcy. Korea Disease Control and Prevention Agency (KDCA) Commissioner Jeong Eun-kyeong warned Thursday that there is a possibility of the number of daily cases surging to 10,000 in December and up to 20,000 in January. The number of critically-ill patients could soar to 1,900 soon, given that the ominous rate of being tested positive — 2.95 percent — has nearly doubled from the first week of November.

But the government lacks the determination to tackle the challenge. Moon did not replace related public health officials nor censure them. The prime minister nonchalantly said, “We know very well how to win the battle against Covid-19.” His remarks dumbfound us. As expected, the prime minister demanded citizens wear face masks, avoid unnecessary meetings with friends, refresh the air regularly and get Covid tests as often as possible. The government plans to levy fines on patients not following government orders and hit disobedient medical facilities with criminal charges.

If the public trusts the government and just waits, anything can happen. Citizens must find effective ways to protect their health. For now, the best policy is to take booster shots as early as possible, as recommended by Dr. Antony Fauci, director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases (NIAID) in the United States, to help fight the Omicron variant.

It is urgent to raise the percentage of those in their 60s receiving booster shots, which is at 34.3 percent. Alarmingly, positive cases among teenagers under 18 have more than doubled over the past month. In the age group between 12 and 15 in particular — whose full vaccination rate stands at a mere 24.9 percent — positive cases have spiked. The government advises citizens to hurry to get vaccinated, but many hospitals do not have enough vaccines.

Government measures detached from reality are nothing new. People cannot but protect their health on their own since the government admitted to the breakdown of medical institutes in the Seoul metropolitan area and a possible collapse elsewhere. That’s the only way for them to survive the pandemic.
Log in to Twitter or Facebook account to connect
with the Korea JoongAng Daily
help-image Social comment?
lock icon

To write comments, please log in to one of the accounts.

Standards Board Policy (0/250자)